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10/11/10 7:10 PM ET
Conrad out of lineup after three-error game
Glaus will start at third base, Infante moves to second for Braves
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Braves second baseman Brooks Conrad was not in the starting lineup for Game 4 of what could be his club's final game of the National League Division Series on Monday night against the Giants at Turner Field. Instead, Troy Glaus was at third base and Omar Infante at second a day after Conrad set two NLDS records by committing three errors in Sunday's 3-2 loss. The Giants lead, 2-1, and can wrap up the best-of-five series with a victory Monday. Braves manager Bobby Cox said he would "sleep on it" on Sunday night when determining whether Conrad would be back in the lineup after the 30-year-old utility player set a record for most errors in a NLDS game and most in a first-round series -- four overall. Cox said he didn't get much sleep, but he opted not to start Conrad, anyway. "I talked to Brooksy at length this morning, and he needs a day off," Cox said. "He needs to get away from it for a day. As you know, he's been the darling of the fans here all season long. This shouldn't happen to anybody in the game of baseball. But it's happened to Brooksy, and he needs a day off. I told him to hold his head high, and maybe pinch-hit and win a game for us." Conrad's last miscue was on a routine two-out Buster Posey grounder that went through his legs, allowing Freddy Sanchez to score the winning run, as the Giants came back from a 2-1 deficit to score twice with two down in the ninth.
Conrad's three errors also tied the overall single-game postseason record shared by 11 other players. Conrad stood tall on Sunday and told the media he was "completely embarrassed" by his play. On Monday, he said he understood Cox's position. "He just called me in and said, 'Hey, we're going to give you a day,'" Conrad said. "I said, 'OK.' We sat there and talked for a little bit and had a good talk. I think that will help. Another sign of what a great manager Bobby Cox is. He'll pull you in and talk to you when he needs to. And he's always behind you -- that's what he told me. That really feels good to have a manager like that, a guy who will stay behind you after things have been going wrong." Conrad has played regularly at second base because of season-ending injuries suffered by Chipper Jones and Martin Prado. When Jones blew out his knee this summer, Prado was moved from second base to third and was replaced up the middle by Infante. When Prado injured his hip near the end of the season, Cox tried Conrad at third and then flip-flopped him with Infante.
Glaus has played in 128 games this season for Atlanta, mostly at first base, batting .240 with 16 homers and 71 RBIs. He's played only two innings at third base all season and hasn't started at the hot corner since 2009, when he played for the Cardinals. He did play some third base during a one-week rehab stint at Triple-A Gwinnett the last week of August after recovering from inflammation in his left knee. And when Cox subbed Glaus in defensively at third for the 10th inning of Game 2 on Friday night at San Francisco, he turned a bases-loaded double play that saved a game the Braves won, 5-4, in the 11th on Rick Ankiel's homer. Cox immediately lifted Glaus for Diory Hernandez, who finished up the game at third. Cox said on Monday that he was confident Glaus could handle the entire game at third. "He has played third," Cox said. "He played third at Gwinnett for a week and did OK over there. We'll see how it goes." Conrad's other two errors came during the first and second innings on Sunday night. In the first, he bobbled a potential double-play grounder struck by Sanchez. In the second, he dropped a pop fly in short right field hit by Cody Ross, allowing San Francisco's first run to score. After all that, Cox said Conrad understood why he wasn't playing on Monday. "Well, we talked for a good length, and he was fine," Cox said. "It's not easy. His concentration is there, everything is there. He's been a real good fielder for us. But for whatever reason, it happened. I can't explain it."
Tough series for Conrad
Bad news Brooks
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.